A text message once in a while. The tiniest dose of attention followed by a week of silence. Dates that get canceled last minute.

Don’t call it love. Don’t call it dating. Don’t call it play hard to get either. There’s a very specific word for it: breadcrumbing.

It may be done on purpose, or unintentionally. But the end result is always the same — unhealthy imbalance.

Which is why we have to learn to walk away when the emotional roller coaster of love has too few highs and too many lows.

Constant lack of attention and/or affection isn’t normal. At best, breadcrumbing is a waste of time; at worst, it will drain your energy.

It is no coincidence that breadcrumbing is often used by those with narcissistic traits to control and manipulate their victims.

Here is a collection of 22 quotes to help you identify what breadcrumbing is and why it can easily become toxic to anyone who is involved.

Best breadcrumbing quotes

True love is not a hide and seek game. In true love, both lovers seek each other.

Michael B. Johnson

It seems that you can’t make people love or care for something that they don’t already love or care for. They either see your value and act accordingly or they don’t and you move on to someone that does.

Carlos Salinas

Never chase love, affection, or attention. If it is not given freely by another person, it is not worth having.


When we meet and fall into the gravitational pull of a narcissist, we are entering a significant life lesson that involves learning to create boundaries, self-respect, and resilience.

Mateo Sol

A relationship should be a balance between two people. One person should not be giving while the other is only taking.


When you get ghosted, be happy they are on a one-way ticket with no return address.

Julie Spira

Relationship with a narcissist in a nutshell: you will go from being the perfect love of their life to nothing you do is ever good enough. You will give everything and they will take it all and give you less and less in return.

Bree Bonchay

Bravery is leaving a toxic relationship and knowing that you deserve better.


Love should not be a guessing game. In fact, it should not be a game at all. One should lay all the cards on the table, and be honest with intentions and feelings.

Carlos Salinas

Relationships with narcissists are held in place by the hope of a “someday better”, with little evidence to support it will ever arrive.

Ramani Durvasula

Respect yourself quotes

You must find the courage to leave the table if respect is no longer being served.

Tene Edwards

Women must learn to find self-worth within themselves, not through others.

Georgette Mosbacher

Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.

Maya Angelou

You cannot force someone to respect you, but you can refuse to be disrespected.


Your dignity should always be more important than your relationship status.

Bruce Bryans

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.

Robert Tew

Short breadcrumbing quotes

Too often, the thing you want most is the one thing you can’t have.

Meredith Grey

A guy must be evaluated based only on what he does for you.

Matthew Hussey

If you ignore me, I will ignore you.


Know your worth, hold your own power, be you.

Morgan Harper Nichols

Don’t play hard to get, play hard to forget.


A good relationship requires balance.